"We looked at hundreds of candidates initially from as far away as Boston, Miami, and Portland (Ore.)," said KOLD Vice-President/General Manager Jim Arnold in a press release. "The search for this position was unprecedented in KOLD News 13 history."
Ultimately, they opted for Heather Rowe, who had been a presence in the newsroom since 2003.
"I'm very happy," said Rowe. "This is what I've been working toward my whole career."
Rowe was nabbed as the anchor of KWBA Channel 58's foray into local news. KWBA (cable Channel 8) signed Rowe and Lou Waters as co-anchors in April 2003. Just as KMSB Channel 11 utilizes many of KVOA Channel 4's services for its 9 p.m. news product, the WB did the same with KOLD. The newscast was discontinued in December 2005, but Rowe was transitioned into the KOLD news product, first as a reporter, then as a morning news anchor, before last week's prime-time promotion.
"I always felt comfortable, because KOLD supported me 100 percent when we were working in the same newsroom while I was at the WB," Rowe said.
Rowe says she connects well with Tucson, and considers that an important part of the position.
"I'm real, and I'm sincere, and I've been an Arizonan for many, many years, so people believe that I am sincere in my concern for the community," she said.
So KOLD has one spot locked down, with Rowe replacing Kris Pickel, but it now must search for a new male anchor in light of its decision to dismiss Randy Garsee earlier this month. Rowe's role in the actual selection will be limited, but she knows it's an important decision, considering the hope that viewers will connect with the new team.
"I've always been able to get along with a variety of personalities," Rowe said. "It's essential to have chemistry on the set and between all your co-workers. It's something I feel I have with (meteorologist) Chuck (George) and (sports director) Scott (Kilbury) on the desk, and that's why I love my job."
Jim Slone owned and operated what is now the Citadel radio conglomerate. He sold the five stations, highlighted by country music power KIIM 99.5 FM, to Citadel for $63 million nearly six years ago.
Slone's Tucson radio roots date back to 1963 as an on-air personality for KCUB AM 1290. He became part owner and general manager in 1972. Slone is a member of the Arizona Broadcasters Hall of Fame.